A mysterious mass SMS with the words 'Goodbye World' ripples its way across the country triggering a crippling, apocalyptic cyber attack that brings society to its knees. James and Lily's sheltered home soon becomes a fortress as friends seek refuge against the chaos and growing violence while around them the world begins to crumble.
When the end of the world comes, what will you miss most? Will it be your family who live across the country with a fate uncertain? Maybe it would be the loss of global communications that allowed all of us to stay in touch from around the globe? For the aged hipsters of Goodbye World, it’s Starbucks and YouTube. They jokingly discuss such topics while indulging in wine and salad as if it were your run-of-the-mill dinner party, completely oblivious to the mass chaos and carnage befalling other people right outside their window. It may be the end of the world, but I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t be smoking weed and getting naked in a hot tub while a giant cloud of smoke from destruction rages miles aways. Perhaps I’m just a prude who can’t enjoy himself while society devolves and people are slaughtering each other for resources from your backyard.
It seems as though writer/director Denis Hennelly was given the task of making an apocalyptic movie, but decided to skirt around the topic and focus on the subject as more of an overly soapy hipster drama. A group of friends that span the spectrum of stereotypes all converge at a mountain cabin that is sufficient with stockpiled resources and solar energy. You have the anarchy encouraging college teacher, the hippy-dippy couple, the Homeland Security government know-it-all, the cackling young hackers and the uptight domesticated couple. There’s a young child present as well, but she exists mostly in the background as set decoration. They all arrive at the cabin as the United States descends into chaos thanks to a texting virus that spams “Goodbye World” and takes down power plants. Resources become scarce, violence breaks out, etc.
But none of that is going to stop these people from squabbling like hens about their relationships and life choices. Who wants to talk about rationing resources and helping out other people when you can giggle about trimmed pubic hair? These people are not just oblivious to the world they mock - they’re downright stupid in their childish ways. While going around the room asking about what each one of them will miss from the old world, one of the women answers with volunteering. I’m pretty sure volunteering doesn’t stop because you can’t access the internet. There are most likely lots of people you could help during the aftermath of a societal apocalypse. Nobody in the room calls her out on this, merely laughing and writing off her answer as lame. She should have chosen something more cool like coffee shops or cat videos.
There isn’t much to like about any of these characters as they all spend the majority of the time blithering about high school level politics and making incredibly selfish decisions. While shopping for supplies at the now gun-protected general store, the Homeland Security woman of the group spends the majority of their remaining cash on tampons despite being at least twenty times the price. While leaving the store, they notice a man being hassled by bullies for his materials and do nothing to help him out. When the neighbors ask them if they have any medicine to spare, they deny they do despite holding a hefty sum in their storage shed. There is practically zero trust with any of these people that you don’t feel so bad when military men forcibly try to use the house as a base.
With such terrible characters that bicker and feud at the worst of times, Goodbye World made me say good riddance to our society. The only element more enraging than the massive egos and obsession with first-world problems during the apocalypse is that we never see a downfall. All their supposed well-meaning karma pays off as nobody dies and nothing is destroyed as they begin to rebuild society. The movie rewards their backwards nature despite the hedonistic hiding and two of the adults in the group sharing a portion of the blame for bringing down society. All is forgiven apparently as these characters were able to come to terms with who they are. Such a shift in focus for an apocalypse movie may seem like a welcome change of tone, but you’ll be begging for an earthquake or Mad Max style gang to run these people through by the time they start fighting about hip hop in the house.